Retroactive Child Support
While parenting a child is a rewarding experience, it is also costly, and many parents lack the financial means to raise their children on their own. As such, when parents share custody of a child, one parent may seek child support from the other. Parties are often ordered to pay child support as part of a divorce or custody order, but, in some cases, a party will not attempt to bear the financial costs of caring for their child for months or years before seeking financial support from their co-parent. In such instances, the courts may determine that in addition to paying support going forward, the obligor parent must pay retroactive support. If you have questions regarding your financial rights and obligations with regard to raising your child, it is prudent to contact an attorney as soon as possible. At McClure Law Group, our skilled Dallas child-support attorneys are adept at helping protect the interests of parents and their children, and, if we represent you, we will work diligently to help you seek a just result.Texas Law Regarding Retroactive Child Support
The Texas Family Code expressly permits courts to order a parent to pay retroactive child support. In other words, the courts can direct a parent to not only pay support going forward, but also to pay support for prior periods. Pursuant to the law, retroactive child support may be ordered if a parent was not previously ordered to pay child support for the child or children in question, and the parent was not a party to any suit in which the court-ordered support.
Generally, the courts presume that retroactive child-support orders that do not exceed the total amount of support that would have been owed for the four years prior to the filing of the support petition are reasonable and in the best interest of the child for which support is sought. The presumption can be rebutted and the court an order the obligor to pay a greater amount, however, if the parent seeking support shows the other parent knew or reasonably should have known that they were the father of the child, support is sought for, and attempted to avoid paying child support.
A court may also issue an order obligating a parent to pay retroactive child support if a prior support order ended due to the marriage of the child’s parents, the parents separated after they married, and either parent seeks a new child-support order following the separation. In such cases, the court can order retroactive support back to the date of the parents’ separation.Retroactive Child-Support Guidelines
The courts employ the Texas child-support guidelines in assessing the amount of retroactive child support that should be ordered. The courts must also evaluate the net resources of the parent obligated to pay support during the applicable time period, whether they paid actual support before the action was filed, and whether a retroactive support order will cause them to suffer an undue financial hardship. The court will weigh whether the obligor had knowledge of his paternity and whether the mother previously tried to notify the obligor of his paternity.Meet with a Trusted Dallas Lawyer
Texas law imposes certain obligations on parents, including the duty to provide for them financially, and, in many cases, the courts will find it appropriate to order a parent to pay retroactive child support. If you have questions regarding your rights and obligations with regard to child support, it is smart to meet with an attorney. The trusted Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group can assess your circumstances and advise you of your options for seeking a favorable result. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we regularly meet parties for appointments at our Collin-County office in Plano. We frequently represent parents in child-support disputes in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also aid people with other family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us via our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a conference.